A few weeks ago, I posted information on social media about my new book, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well. Someone commented, “Life gone…not on pause.” Since I didn’t know the situation that prompted the comment, I waited to answer until I had time to think. As I pondered, I sensed “hopelessness” was the inferred word within the comment. My response was a promise to pray for peace, hope, and blessings.
So many times, hope falls off the emotional radar when we encounter a time of waiting or other challenging life situations.
Harness hope with awareness of what hinders hope and what enhances it:
This week, a young couple got the devastating news that a procedure had little hope of yielding the desire of their hearts—a baby. Hearing this sent me back mentally to our days of infertility and the disappointment and heartache associated with it. During that season of our lives, hope was hard to hold onto because disappointment was so overwhelming.
Perhaps your disappointment involves an unfulfilled dream, unrealized professional advancement, or your association with others—unkept promises, unaddressed issues, unfulfilled expectations. Repeated disappointment crushes hope and leaves us feeling listless and discouraged.
Perhaps, like me, you are discouraged by reports of spikes in COVID cases. Just when it felt as if life was returning to some semblance of normalcy, now it seems like we are spiraling backwards toward fear and unknowns.
Discouragement often comes in prolonged periods of grief, heartache, illness, uncertainty, or striving without seeing improvement or forward motion. Moving beyond discouragement requires effort and the ability to see blessings despite current circumstances.
The definition of despair is an utter loss of all hope or confidence. Hopelessness born of despair results from the inability to believe that what is happening right now is only for a season and envision a time when hope becomes reality.
If you find yourself in the pit of despair, ask for help. Don’t allow yourself to go deeper into despair without taking steps to gain support and encouragement.
Restore hope by looking for sources of encouragement from people, scripture, or remembrance. Turn to those who are your cheerleaders, those who are wise and supportive. If someone is historically unsympathetic, don’t expect that person to be different now and do not look to them for encouragement. Instead, seek those who shine a beacon of hope on life’s difficulties and tragedies.
Read scripture that encourages endurance, perseverance, and blessings. Scripture provides insights on how others handled hopelessness—what brought them peace and what didn’t.
Although difficult, you weathered hard life seasons before and came through. You may have some scars, but you learned and grew through the difficulties. Remember God’s faithfulness in times of struggle and cling to hope.
Hope is enhanced by a forward-looking mentality. Often, we are sucked into a vortex of hopelessness that spins us around and rattles resolve until we can’t see past the immediate. But with effort we can refocus beyond the here and now, shake off the shackles of hopelessness, and see bright rays dawn on the horizon.
When hopelessness threatens to pull you under, where do you place your trust? Some rely on wealth, science, or new ideologies. Others depend on their own skills, intelligence, or ability to manipulate.
I place my trust in the Eternal One. I trust Him because I have history with Him. God has never failed to sustain me and restore my hope.
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more” (Psalm 71:14 NIV).
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and beyond, difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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